Without the usual fanfare and fireworks, the 35th Cairo International Film Festival opened last Wednesday at Cairo Opera House. The opening ceremony took place with Egyptians forming
the majority of the attendants; very few non-Egyptians took part. The female guests were all in mourning black, and everyone observed a moment of silence in honour of those who lost their lives during the Arab Spring revolutions in Egypt, Syria, and Gaza.
After the national anthem was played, the Minister of Culture Mohamed Saber gave a word in which he said he had hoped the festival could be held this year at a time when Egypt enjoyed stability, “but we decided to hold it against all the odds.”
Last year’s festival was cancelled in view of the political upheaval in Egypt.
Watani asked the head of the festival, Ezzat Abu-Ouf, whether any censorship had been applied to the films participating in the festival competition, given that Islamists are now in power in Egypt and may consider some scenes or thoughts too liberal. Mr Abu-Ouf said that no censorship whatsoever had been applied, and that the festival organisers were determined the festival should go on in absolute freedom, in defiance to the escalating contraction in freedom of thought and expression.
30 November 2012
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